Sheridan hits the road to Marion

Sheridan junior Jace Bradshaw carries the while while being tackled by several Sylvan Hills players during a Sept. 29 football game. (Special to the Commercial/William Harvey)

After playing three of its past four games at home, Sheridan has a long road trip coming up.

The Yellowjackets travel to Marion at 7 p.m. Friday to face one of the top teams in the conference.

Sheridan (2-5, 2-4 in 6A East) dropped a hard-fought 32-29 game last week to El Dorado.

Marion (6-1, 5-1) slipped past West Memphis 20-14 and is seeking a third-straight win.

The Yellowjackets have played three-straight close games in recent weeks. After outlasting Sylvan Hills on homecoming, Sheridan hung tough with Little Rock Catholic before ultimately falling short two weeks ago. Last week, Sheridan had the lead late, but El Dorado scored the game-winning touchdown with 1:47 to play.

Marion's only loss this season came on the road to conference-leader Benton. The Patriots will be the favorites in this game, but Sheridan will need an upset or two to finish out the regular season if the Yellowjackets are to reach the playoffs this year.

Sheridan's defense has been improved the past few weeks after a rough start to the season, but Marion will provide a stiff test. The Patriots are averaging 39 points per conference game.

Fordyce vs Camden Harmony Grove

Fordyce (4-3, 3-0 in 3A-6) hosts Camden Harmony Grove (5-2, 2-0) Friday in a game which will likely decide the conference championship. Fordyce defeated rival Rison 42-7 last week, while Harmony Grove was on bye. The Hornets' last game was also a win against Rison, 56-13.

The Redbugs and Hornets finished tied for second in the conference last year behind Rison. With the Wildcats struggling this season, these two teams have emerged as the title contenders. Both teams feature high-scoring offenses, with Fordyce averaging 39.3 points per conference game and Harmony Grove averaging 51. Of note, Fordyce was held to 29 against third place Barton, a team the Hornets haven't yet played.

This will be Fordyce's final home conference game this season, though the Redbugs do have a non-conference home game against Arkadelphia scheduled for next week.

Stuttgart vs Heber Springs

Stuttgart (5-2, 2-1 in 4A-2) hosts conference upstart Heber Springs (4-2, 3-0) in an important game Friday. The Ricebirds blanked Cave City 38-0 last week, while the Panthers dominated Lonoke 45-13.

Coming into the season, most expected Harding Academy, Stuttgart and Lonoke to be the class of the conference with a big gap between them and the rest. Heber Springs was thought to be among the best of the rest, but last week's blowout of Lonoke showed the Panthers are in the mix in 3A-6.

Stuttgart's only losses this year have come to two of the elite teams in Class 4A, Warren and Harding Academy. The Ricebirds are on a dominant two-game winning streak, but Heber Springs has won four-straight, outscoring its opponents 177-21.